The Old Testament reading for Monday, December 10 is:

Zephaniah 2 (Listen)

Judgment on Judah's Enemies

2:1   Gather together, yes, gather,
    O shameless nation,
  before the decree takes effect1
    —before the day passes away like chaff—
  before there comes upon you
    the burning anger of the LORD,
  before there comes upon you
    the day of the anger of the LORD.
  Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land,
    who do his just commands;2
  seek righteousness; seek humility;
    perhaps you may be hidden
    on the day of the anger of the LORD.
  For Gaza shall be deserted,
    and Ashkelon shall become a desolation;
  Ashdod's people shall be driven out at noon,
    and Ekron shall be uprooted.
  Woe to you inhabitants of the seacoast,
    you nation of the Cherethites!
  The word of the LORD is against you,
    O Canaan, land of the Philistines;
    and I will destroy you until no inhabitant is left.
  And you, O seacoast, shall be pastures,
    with meadows3 for shepherds
    and folds for flocks.
  The seacoast shall become the possession
    of the remnant of the house of Judah,
    on which they shall graze,
  and in the houses of Ashkelon
    they shall lie down at evening.
  For the LORD their God will be mindful of them
    and restore their fortunes.
  “I have heard the taunts of Moab
    and the revilings of the Ammonites,
  how they have taunted my people
    and made boasts against their territory.
  Therefore, as I live,” declares the LORD of hosts,
    the God of Israel,
  “Moab shall become like Sodom,
    and the Ammonites like Gomorrah,
  a land possessed by nettles and salt pits,
    and a waste forever.
  The remnant of my people shall plunder them,
    and the survivors of my nation shall possess them.”
10   This shall be their lot in return for their pride,
    because they taunted and boasted
    against the people of the LORD of hosts.
11   The LORD will be awesome against them;
    for he will famish all the gods of the earth,
  and to him shall bow down,
    each in its place,
    all the lands of the nations.
12   You also, O Cushites,
    shall be slain by my sword.
13   And he will stretch out his hand against the north
    and destroy Assyria,
  and he will make Nineveh a desolation,
    a dry waste like the desert.
14   Herds shall lie down in her midst,
    all kinds of beasts;4
  even the owl and the hedgehog5
    shall lodge in her capitals;
  a voice shall hoot in the window;
    devastation will be on the threshold;
    for her cedar work will be laid bare.
15   This is the exultant city
    that lived securely,
  that said in her heart,
    “I am, and there is no one else.”
  What a desolation she has become,
    a lair for wild beasts!
  Everyone who passes by her
    hisses and shakes his fist.

Footnotes

[1] 2:2 Hebrew gives birth
[2] 2:3 Or who carry out his judgment
[3] 2:6 Or caves
[4] 2:14 Hebrew beasts of every nation
[5] 2:14 The identity of the animals rendered owl and hedgehog is uncertain

(ESV)


English Standard Version: Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Text provided by the Crossway Bibles Web Service.

Old Testament Pastoral Commentary for Zephaniah 2
Author: Pastor Bob Nordlie
The message of "the great day of the LORD" is now directed toward the enemies of God's people. The "shameless nation" addressed in verse 1 is sometimes taken to be Judah. Verse 4, however, is directed toward the four major cities of the Philistines, so this entire section of chapter 2 is probably addressed to Philistia. Would there be "humble of the land, who do his just commands" and would seek righteousness and humility in such a pagan land? Psalm 87 names Philistia among those who would have citizenship in Zion, and even the Canaanite woman looked to Jesus for help and healing (Matthew 15:27). Faith was sometimes found outside of Israel in both the Old and New Testaments. Clearly, therefore, the Spirit of the LORD could be at work among the Philistines as well, to shelter some of them by faith on the day of the LORD's wrath. The Philistines are referred to again as Cherethites or Cretans, since they were originally from Crete. God warned that He would level their cities and turn them into pasture for the flocks of the remnant of Judah. The Moabites and Ammonites are also condemned for taunting God's people. God warned that they would be like Sodom and Gomorrah, and their gods would bow down and worship Him. Cush, perhaps named as a derisive term for Egypt, and Assyria are also condemned. Nineveh, capital of Assyria, had claimed to be god by claiming the divine name, "I am, and there is no one else," but they would become desolate and derided, when "the day of the LORD" came upon them.